Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Which I am Confused

Okay, here is a story.  Sometimes I think it's embarrassing on my part a little, sometimes I think it makes a point about my beliefs, and sometimes I think it makes me look ignorant.  I just don't know.  It's still enjoyable though.

I was at the doctor's getting my allergies tested and it was the pre-screening time when the nurses take your weight and blood pressure and height.  I went to the doctor two days in a row and got two different weights 4 lbs apart.  Not sure how that works, but I'm choosing to believe the lesser one that was not digital. :/  Anyways, while they do this they ask questions like "Are you able to perform normal daily functions on your own?"  "Are you in danger or being threatened by any one at home?" and so on.  Only this nurse was not asking the questions word for word but was re-wording them in a way I actually understood!  I did not realize she was asking me the standard questions, and just thought she was being really nice and curious and/or doing her job.  And she wasn't just listing them.  It was the most "normal" understandable time I had with these questions.  Normally I get nervous about answering them wrong and stutter a lot.  I did the next day when I was asked the exact same questions but they were read straight from the page instead.

The question she asked that got me, as she's strapping the blood pressure thing on my arm was:

"What is your race?"

My thoughts:  OMG! She cares!  She wants to know about my heritage and I look interesting to her.   I always wish people would ask me this question!
What I say out loud:  "DUTCH!" 
I am soooo happy.  Then I think about it and I change my answer:
"Well, I guess I would say I'm American really."

And the nurse looks at me and goes, "On the forms do you usually just put "white"?"  And that's when I figured it out. My reaction to her statement was part snarky:  "Really, do I look anything other than white to you?" and part appreciative that she didn't just assume I was.

I just don't like being called "white".  It does nothing to state what I stand for, what my history is, or bring our country together as a whole.  People from France are French, people from China are Chinese, and I'm from America, so I am American, not white.  Why must they lump us European Americans together under "white".  At least all of South America and Central America gets to be lumped under "Hispanic" or "Latino".  That's way more awesome and slightly more defining than "white".

And there you go.  Those are my thoughts on that topic and I don't know if I'm right, if I'm wrong, if I'm missing something important, if I'm being insensitive, and so on.


Ryan Lakanen said...

I've skipped that question before on forms that have it as optional.

Mommy said...

You are absolutely right!
However, seeing you were at the doctor, there are some diseases that are more prevalent to different races. Perhaps this is why she needed to know. For the statistics.

Db said...

Ryan, sometimes I check "other" and write in American. :)
Mom, you are right about the diseases and race, but still, white is not a race, it's a color. But the whole system is messed up and I'm not going to be the one to fix it!